Posted by: Joan Spiller | June 6, 2010

In defence of Uncle Toby & his, “food”

Now some of you have told me that I’ve been pretty harsh in my criticism of the instant glop that the nice people at Uncle Toby’s left in my mailbox recently. I will grant you, it was nice of someone to drop food in my mailbox. To ensure no further rants like this one about instant oatmeal, I’ve since left a note on the mailbox outside, asking that only wine, cheese and coffee producers make deposits in my mailbox.

THAT said, instant oatmeal exists because you people out there buy it!
If there wasn’t a market for it, it would go away – basic rule of supply and demand!
OK I’ll get off my hobby horse now 😉

And back to my completely unbiased review of Uncle Toby’s instant “honey” flavoured sachet oats ~ compared to my super delicious, home made porridge.

Pictured above is the 2 mixes, before I cooked them.

Uncle Toby’s instant breakfast: 93 seconds later..

And my porridge: 3 mins and 12 seconds later..

Both plates of porridge, plated and ready to go ..

So when I first opened the packet of oats – I was overwhelmed by the sweetness on the sniff test! Like I said in an earlier post, there are 3 different sweeteners in the packet! The mixture will also contain milk powder, finely ground, flattened (I kid you not) and pre-cooked oats. That’s how come they can cook so fast!

My mixture contains wholegrain rolled oats. Nutty in taste and more chunky in texture I think they are a far superior product. And I don’t buy that no one has 5 minutes to throw 2T (that’s TABLESPOONS people!) of rolled oats, a pinch of salt and some water into a bowl before going to bed at night so don’t go there.

My recipe for a single serve of porridge is as follows:

2T rolled oats
Pinch of salt (do not omit this, it’s crucial! Remember my other recent rant: salt your food!  
3/4c water (or milk – up to you)
1teaspoon sultanas – opt
1T coconut – opt

Put in a microwave proof container, cover with a plate and leave til morning. Then when you’re stumbling about waking up, next day: throw the bowl of uncooked brekkie in the microwave for a few minutes. Stir half way thru’ the cooking time, if you can be bothered. Sprinkle with brown sugar, milk / cream and eat. Be warned, this will stay hot a lot longer than instant oats.

When I served the 2 bowls of porridge yesterday, the instant oats were tepid before I’d finished serving mine and carting them to the table. Oatmeal isn’t THAT appealing at the best of times: if it aint hot ~ it moves into a-whole-new-world of unappetising 😉

Something you will see is that the instant oatmeal looks very different to mine. Yet I put the exact same amount of brown sugar and milk / cream on each plate – what’s that about?

On taste

Uncle Toby’s:

The instant oats were OK tasting. They had a silky, almost slimy texture in my mouth. I couldn’t deal with how sweet they were. I also didn’t like that they went cold so easily. It was pretty easy to eat, no chewing required at all.


Definitely more “grunty” in texture, due to the larger sized wholemeal oats – it’s fair to say that if you adore oatmeal you may not like my porridge! The coconut and sultanas add a delicious taste and texture to the dish. You could add nuts or molasses – anything really but my 2 faves are sultanas and coconut. My porridge stayed hot a lot longer than the instant sludge.


Instant oats come in pre-packaged sachets and are ready to go. Breakfast will be ready in less than 2 mins, no doubt about the speed thing here. There’s heaps of flavours to choose from and they range in price but on average it seems you can get 5 to 6 meals for around $5. Convenient, yes! Expensive – hell yes!!

Rolled Oats come in a 1.2kg bag which will last (single serves) months as 2T of oats make one bowl of brekkie. @ around $3.99 a packet – you do the math: it’s a no brainer on cost comparison.

Anyway there you have it, my rant over rolled oats is done.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go check the mail..



  1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!


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  3. Funny! I bet the company call and tell you to stop saying mean things about them any day now haha will you be doing taste tests on other things for the blog, that could be fun?


    • Give me some suggestions and I’ll give it a go *grin* Maybe I could start a new career – taste tester! Could be fun.. I’ll have to think about what things are available ‘ready made’ and that I can make – so I can compare them!


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